It was a swift kick in the nuts kind of loss not because of a game-ending hit but because of a mid-innings comeback that vibrated, like the sensation of getting punched in the ball does, and lingered.
C.C. Sabathia had a no-hitter through five and a modest 3-0 lead. Considering all the hits the Yanks had in the early innings it should have been more but that’s how it goes when you’re on a non-gluten diet. In in the 6th, Nate McLouth led off with a hard single and then advanced to second on a bunt that rolled along the first base side of the field. David Adams, playing first, charged, leaving the bag open with no time for Robinson Cano, to cover. A mental mistake by Adams, for sure. The result, first and second and nobody out. Sabathia got Nick Markakis to pop out but then Manny Machado, that doubles-hitting machine–doubled to right center driving home both runners.
J. J. Hardy followed and popped out to centerfield and Machado took third, apparently catching Brett Gardner by surprise. The gamble paid off when Adam Jones had a cheap infield hit that scored the tying run.
Okay, 3-3 in the 7th. All was not lost. And Sabathia retired the first two hitters in bottom of the 7th before he left a flat breaking ball–slider or a curve–over the plate that McLouth sent over the right field wall. After he got the final out Sabathia returned to the dugout and rifled his mitt into the bench. He yelled and it was the most demonstrative show of emotion I remember seeing from him.
“You’ve got to finish the game, put a complete game together,” Sabathia said after the game. “I’m not saying go out and throw nine innings, but just put a good start, a complete start together. I feel like I haven’t done that all year.”
That one run lead was all the O’s would need as Tommy Hunter mowed the Yankees down in the final two innings and the O’s earned a 4-3 win.
[Photo Credit: Doug Kapustin/Reuters]